From the French Open to Wimbledon, tennis is one of the world’s most popular sports to watch. It is also a great sport to play – competitively or recreationally. Overuse injuries in tennis are common, so it is important to follow correct technique and form so you can continue to play for years to come.
Here are some common injuries and ways to prevent them:
Weakness in the rotator cuff muscles can cause irritation and inflammation in the shoulder area. Try flexing and extending the wrist against light resistance using an exercise band. Do these exercises three to four times per week.
When you increase training too rapidly, you are at risk for a stress fracture. When your muscles fatigue, it puts additional stress on the bone. If the bone cannot adjust quickly enough, it can crack. Stress fractures are often in the tibia, fibula or foot. Strength and endurance training and wearing proper footwear can prevent stress fractures from occurring.
Quick, sudden moves can cause muscle strains. These usually occur due to improper warm up or lack of stretching. Before going out on the court, warm up by doing a slow jog, jumping jacks or riding a bike at low intensity. You should also take time to stretch your shoulders, hamstrings and quadriceps. Moving stretches are best, so try swinging your arms in a circular motion and swinging your legs forward and backward. Each stretch should last at least 30 seconds or more.
This is probably the most common injury in tennis, and it is caused by overuse of the muscles that extend the wrist or bend it backwards. Prevent tennis elbow by strengthening the muscles in the arm and wrist, and always doing a warm-up routine before playing.
If you continue to experience pain when you play tennis, talk to your doctor about your concerns. Never ignore pain or tenderness, as this could increase the severity of injury.